Who’s Playing Hide-and-Seek In Your House?

by Olivia Huang, Professional Golf Management major

This graphic shows the proportional diversity of arthropod types across all of the rooms surveyed.

Credit: M. Bertone et al.

Have you every tallied how many “roommates” you really have living in your house right now? I don’t mean human, but those tiny little creatures you might have never noticed before. I don’t want to scare you, but their numbers afar beyond your imagination!

Recently, a group of researchers (Bertone, Trautwein, Shipman, NC State University) have visited and collected a wealth of information of any living or dead arthropod that they could find from sampled homes in North Carolina. Their data uncovered that “Each house could play host to many hundreds of arthropod species, with an average tally per home about 100 species representing 62 arthropod families,” (Mindy Weisberger).   The majority (73%) of found species are familiar to human such as bedbugs, termites, spiders, beetles. More surprisingly, scientists have complied a list of 579 species from all houses (304 families) and it is said that the list is probably just a tip of an iceberg!

This sounds a little creepy isn’t it? The good news from the report –fortunately –is that the vast majority of our “company” are not pest species! “They were either peaceful cohabitants like the cobweb spiders found in 65% of all rooms sampled –or accidental visitors, like midges and leafhoppers” (Matt Bertone et al, NC State News). It is not true that our “roommates” really want to spend time with us, in fact many of them were accidentally brought from outside the house by humans, and because they are not equipped with their necessities or adaptive environment, they usually expired rapidly.

As the research has been made, we should now be aware of how diverse our living environment is, and it might be amusing for us to discover where our hidden “friends” are in our own rooms.

Weisberger, By Mindy. “Hundreds of Tiny Bugs Are Probably Hiding in Your Home.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 19 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 Feb. 2016.

Resnick, Brian. “First Study of Arthropods in U.S. Homes Finds Huge Biodiversity.” NC State News First Study of Arthropods in US Homes Finds Huge Biodiversity Comments. Feb. 2016.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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